The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is issuing an alert to residents regarding an increase in Hepatitis A cases.
The department says that 25 cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed in Greene County since April.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by a virus. The illness can range from a mild illness to death in rare cases. The department says Hepatitis A is transmitted via person-to-person contact such as eating or drinking after someone infected, sharing a cigarette, or having sex.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A can include:
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- loss of appetite
- abdominal pain
- dark urine
- light-colored bowel movements
- joint pain
Greene County officials say that so far they have not confirmed a case in a food service worker but both Franklin and Douglas Counties had to carry out mass vaccination clinics because food service workers exposed thousands to the virus.
Certain demographic groups can qualify for a no-cost vaccination against Hepatitis A:
- persons who use recreational drugs;
- persons experiencing homelessness;
- a man who has sex with men;
- persons in treatment or counseling for substance abuse;
- persons receiving drug substitution treatment and/or participate in drug court;
- persons who work or have been detained in jail or a detention center; and
- persons who have close contact with the above group(s) or a confirmed hepatitis A case.
More information about vaccinations against Hepatitis A can be obtained by calling the Health Department at 417-864-1658.